The prescription drug epidemic is wreaking havoc across our state and country. More than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. The bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day is the ideal opportunity to turn in unused and expired medication, to ensure it stays out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.
“Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have unknowingly become drug dealers to family members,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Properly disposing of medication is imperative and can save the lives of family members, friends and fellow Arkansans. This epidemic impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas and it takes action by all of us to make a difference.”
Attorney General Rutledge is reminding Arkansans about the national Prescription Drug Take Back Event and the various drop-off locations available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are held twice a year, but to find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org.
Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across the State:
· Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.
· Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.
· Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.
· Other prescription medications
· Over-the-counter medicines
· Pet medicines
· Medicated ointments and lotions
· Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
· Medicine samples
Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy.
Properly destroying these medications also protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Wastewater treatment plants or septic systems may not remove many medicine compounds. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse.
The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 611.2 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of by Attorney General’s office mobile offices – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.
Rutledge is partnering on the Prescription Drug Take Back with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Prescription Drug Take Back days are just one step in Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach of education, prevention and litigation to end the opioid crisis. Last fall, Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 80 schools, across 60 counties and reached over 8,600 students. Rutledge has a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, inviting Arkansans to submit videos discussing how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.
Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers that created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of registration.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association and Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region. She also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.